At the last conference, Yalta, between Stalin, FDR, and Churchill, Churchill could tell FDR was not long for this earth. If FDR didn't know that, it was total denial. One of the big topics was what was Poland's postwar status going to be. Stalin wanted, of course, to gobble them up, and since the Red Army was going to have occupied the whole of it, it would take a lot of convincing to sway him away from that course of action.
What did FDR think, according to Chuchill's reports? Roosevelt, "took a distant view of the Polish question; the 5 or 6 million Poles in the US were mostly second generation." He was only concerned with base political considerations. Votes! Not for him, either, he'd been re-elected for the 4th time already and had to have known he wouldn't see 1948 or even 46. It wasn't going to impact him in any way, what happened to the Poles. And it would hardly impact his Party. Stalin, it turns out, was going to do as he wished anyway. Nothing FDR would say would change that, and he could have called for the Poles to be appointed High Muckity Mucks of all the world and be prepared to travel to colonies on the Moon to rule over us from above. The point is, there was nothing stopping FDR from taking the high road. Currying favor with Stalin by feeding him the Poles? Favor was not going to be curried, regardless.
What did Churchill think and say?
Churchill then spoke of the rights of Poles... "to live freely and to live their own lives in their own way." Britain had gone to war in order than Poland could be "free and sovereign." It was Britain's wish thatPoland "should be mistress in her own house and captain of her own soul."... There must be a "free vote of the Polish people" on the their future constitution and administration. -page 818-819 Churchill: A Life, M. Gilbert
Stunning how a British Imperial, in the form of 70 year old Churchill, a man practically a Victorian in outlook, could understand a concept that should be second nature to every American. They are the very principles that our country was cast from. Individual rights and dignity. Self-determination. Inviolate sovereignty. How embarrassing that FDR didn't grok that at all. I think that is a still a problem with Roosevelt's political progeny.
Clement Atlee, his successor after the war, was right about Churchill. He was indeed the most consequential man of the 20th Century. I am in whole agreement.